An Angus woman was “alarmed” by a letter saying she is welcome to stay in post-Brexit Scotland – after living here for 47 years.
Helga and Michael Hunter settled in Scotland in the early 1970s – two decades before the EU was formed – and met in the former West Germany when Michael was stationed with the Scots Guards.
They have lived in Arbroath for more than 20 years and Helga was stunned to receive a letter through the door from the SNP, warning: “While there will be no immediate changes in your circumstances I appreciate there remains great uncertainty over how events will unfold.”
The SNP said letters are going out across Scotland and stated the blanket letter is “the right approach to take” in an “increasingly hostile atmosphere” following the UK referendum vote to leave the EU.
The couple, both 68, were recently rocked by Michael’s diagnosis of bowel cancer, for which he has received surgery.
While the former platoon sergeant – an SNP voter – said he agreed with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s words of support for EU nationals on TV and in the press, he was “totally dismayed” by the “senseless approach” at the doormat.
Mrs Hunter said she had never given her domestic status “a second thought since the day we got married” before the letter, co-signed by South Angus MSP Graeme Dey, arrived.
Mr Hunter said: “First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had this open letter on the SNP website to make everyone welcome, but this is entirely different.
“I’ve been an SNP voter but I thought they were a bit above the scare tactics and scaremongering they’ve been going on about.
“My wife was allowed to vote in local elections and always has done, and voted in the Scottish independence referendum.
“But she was not allowed to vote in the European referendum and respected that.”
“I find it alarming, disturbing and am totally dismayed.”
Mr Hunter was in the army for 14 years, worked at Michelin for 25 years and managed the Furniture Recycling Project in Angus for 11 years.
Mrs Hunter worked as a carer for 22 years and retained her nationality.
An SNP spokesman said: “Graeme Dey and other SNP parliamentarians have rightly taken the lead in engaging with EU citizens in their constituencies and ensuring them that they remain welcome in Scotland and their contribution is valued.
“With the increasingly hostile atmosphere promoted by the Leave campaign and right-wing politicians during and since the referendum, this is the right approach to take – and the SNP will continue to work to protect the rights of all 173,000 EU nationals in Scotland.”